Lithuanian clubs have voted to change the format of their domestic league, reducing the size of the 1. Lyga from ten clubs to nine.
This decision will lead to FK Vetra leaving the top flight in addition to already relegated FK Dainava while only one side, FK Suduva, will be promoted. From now on, under the new regulations, the club which finishes ninth and last in the 1. Lyga will automatically be relegated while the eighth- placed side will play off against the second-placed club from the second division.
Ineligible for promotion
Suduva, who were second in the Lithuanian second division, have replaced FK Polonija who finished top but are not eligible to play in the 1. Lyga as they are a feeder club for FK Zalgiris Vilnius. Another second division team, third-played FK Kauno Jegeriai, were also ruled ineligible for promotion, as they are effectively FBK Kaunas' reserve side.
The fourth-placed team in the second division, FK Tauras also applied for admission to the 1. Lyga, as they looked to take advantage of the review of the championship structure. Their candidacy was, however, dismissed after they were deemed financially unstable for the level of the top flight.
Vetra and Tauras joined forces in an attempt to persuade other clubs to allow ten teams in the 1.Lyga. The clubs even announced that they would merge if they were allowed to stay in the top division. The Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF) Executive Committee dismissed their offer as "hasty". "Vetra were trying to re-enter the top flight without having to be promoted again," said LFF general director Julius Kvedaras. "That is why we decided to act by the law, and drop their request."
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